Black Hawks forward Vladislav Firstov’s 2018/19 season in Waterloo yielded many impressive accomplishments, and Saturday the Minnesota Wild made him their second selection during the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver.
Minnesota claimed Firstov with the 42nd overall pick.
The Russian national was the second-highest rookie scorer in the United States Hockey League during 2018/19. Appearing in all 62 Black Hawks regular season games, Firstov had 58 points (26 goals, 32 assists). He opened the year with four multipoint efforts in the first six games. His season also included five two-goal nights, six game-winners, and a +11 plus/minus differential. Among his teammates, Firstov ranked third in goals, assists, and points over the winter.
“Vladi has a lot of gifts: speed, playmaking ability, an impressive shot,” said Black Hawks Head Coach P.K. O’Handley. “He grew a lot this season with our team, on and off the ice. If that growth continues, there will be a lot of additional opportunities that unfold for him.”
Before 2017, no Waterloo player had ever appeared for the Wild nor been drafted by the club. During the 2017 NHL Draft, Minnesota picked forward Nick Swaney during the seventh round. Then during the 2017/18 season, Justin Kloos made his NHL debut with the Wild. Minnesota went on to add J.T. Brown for the 2018/19 campaign.
The 2019 Draft marks the 8th consecutive year in which a skater from Waterloo has been chosen during, or immediately following, his Black Hawks career. Including players picked before they came to the Cedar Valley, the Hawks have had a tie to at least one prospect selected in 15 straight NHL Drafts.